Generating more referral business is achieved by following four simple steps:
It’s helpful to consider other business which offers complementary services to your own. For a retail business, think of businesses like the cafe next door, and all the customers they have walking through their doors daily – could they give customers the heads up that it might be good to check out your shop next door? For a service business, it might be that you need some other service to get the job done, e.g. an electrician working on a kitchen needs a plumber to finish.
Have a chat with the complementary business and see what you could do to promote each other. This can be simple, e.g. a shop next door to the café offers a discount for the cafe customers, and vice versa or the cafe has your business cards on the counter. Or, it could be more involved, e.g. many people go to the movies and often have a meal first, so maybe the theatre offers a meal and a movie deal with a convenient restaurant.
Many businesses do not ask their customers for referrals, yet customer referrals can be the cheapest and best way to generate business. And, many customers and associates do not think of referring business to you when someone mentions needing the service(s) and or product(s) that you offer. However, you can get around this with a simple, polite request to customers, friends, family, and associates, to please mention you to their customers, friends, family members, and associates. Also, customers often want to help the businesses they like, so a polite request to please refer you and your business is unlikely to fall on deaf ears, or be seen as a pushy request.
You can make your verbal requests even stronger, or avoid having to directly ask if you’re uncomfortable doing so, with a line at the bottom of your email such as, “The best compliment you can pay us is a referral of a friend, family member, or colleague” and have signs around your premises. To sweeten the deal, consider offering a discount to those who manage to get you a customer via a referral, or a rewards voucher or gift of some sort – more on this in Step Four.
Organisations like BNI, The Chamber of Commerce, and Venus, to name only a few, help members network with and refer business to, each other. Joining isn’t enough to get the best results; you must be an active member by attending the group events, networking, networking, networking(!), and considering other ways to be a valued member of the group such as considering being on the leadership team.
As an Executive Director of BNI, of course, I strongly recommend becoming a BNI member. There are so many positives of being a BNI member, which I’d really like to share with you via the PDF below. Please, have a read, and see how BNI can help you generate more business, and more contacts and allies in the business world, to help improve and really ramp-up your chances of a larger customer base, greater profits, and success.
Once you have a great referral, always remember to thank your referrer. Whether this is in the form of a card, a simple, verbal thanks, or a gift, discount, or a free product or service, any form of thanks is better than none – and encourages more of your customers to also refer your business.
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My mailing address is: Steve Hockley Business Coach, 194 Waterloo Road, Lower Hutt,
Wellington 6010, New Zealand